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The magnetometer front-end ASIC (MFA) is a device for reading out magnetic field sensors which are based on the fluxgate principle. The instrument was developed at the Space Research Institute (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and is part of the magnetospheric multi scale (MMS) mission organized by NASA. In the MMS configuration the ASIC is positioned inside the spacecraft while the sensor is located remotely at the tip of a radially extended five meter long boom to achieve magnetic cleanliness requirements. Several shielded twisted pair wires are required for connection. In a possible future configuration the front-end ASIC might be located quite close to the sensor to minimize the effort of cabling and to reduce overall weight. It was the objective to investigate options for this new configuration and to develop and implement a solution for test purposes in laboratory with focus on minimizing the number of required wires and considering the harsh environment in space. The result of the investigation is a communication and power supply system based on an FPGA design, a specific driver circuit and a single twisted pair cable which provides the required power of 300 mW for components at the remote location and which enables the transport of information in both directions up to a maximum distance of 30 meters.
Date of Conference: 25-25 July 2008